The Samburu tribe in Kenya could be on their way to liberate themselves from one of worlds remaining primitive practices.
On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Samburu Elders to commit to the end of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the community.
The Kenyan Head of State was also installed as a Samburu elder. He challenged communities practicing FGM to discard the retrogressive cultural practice by finding alternative rites of passage.
“I know it is possible for our girls to go through alternative rites of passage without suffering,” President Kenyatta said.
The President advised the Samburu community to give their boys and girls an equal opportunity to attend school.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of Maasai and Samburu women in Kenya who have experienced female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is reported to be around 78% and 86%, respectively.
For these communities, female genital cutting is believed to primarily signify a transition into womanhood.
FGM/C is defined as ‘… all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.’
The practice of female genital cutting is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights.
In 2011, the Kenyan government passed the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (Kenya Law Reports: Act No. 32 of 2011, 2012). As expected, this Act, in a similar manner to earlier legislation, did not bring an end to the practice.